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Looking forward to terrific Obama-Modi meeting: Kerry

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday the US is “excited” about what Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to do for the people of India and they are all looking forward to a “terrific” meeting between Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington in September.

In an interview to NDTV ahead of meeting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for the 5th India-US Strategic Dialogue, Kerry said that the “attitude and tone of the new government is most exciting. There is so much opportunity and optimism as far as relations between the two countries are concerned”, according to the NDTV website.

Kerry arrived here Wednesday on a three-day visit to strike up the US’ first high-level engagement with the Narendra Modi government.

On the issue of visa for Modi, who was denied one by the US in 2005 in the aftermath of the Gujarat riots, Kerry said that Modi was “denied a visa by a different government. We will welcome him”.

“We will welcome Prime Minister Modi, he will definitely get a visa.”

He said the US supports India “getting a place in the Nuclear Supply Group. We are also supporting a permanent place for India on the UN Security Council”.

Earlier, Kerry Aalso met Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and held talks with him. He met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the morning. He also visited the Indian Institute of Technology in south Delhi where he visited two laboratories and interacted with the students. He was full of praise for the research projects there.

The US delegation comprises Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker as well as State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. Kerry will meet Prime Minister Modi on Friday.

The India-US Strategic Dialogue between Kerry and Sushma Swaraj and their delegations is underway.

According to a background briefing by a senior US State Department official ahead of Kerry’s visit, the India-US Strategic Dialogue is to “focus on some of the big priorities that Prime Minister Modi and the Modi government have put forward on economic revitalization, on energy security, on homeland security, as well as the robust cooperation between our two countries in science and technology, in space, in skills and education, and in health”.

“We see a new government coming in that has an ambitious agenda, what we can do to help that government realize its agenda, because we see India’s economic rise as something that is deeply in the US interest. And we believe that American companies have a role to play in that rise, and so part of the discussion over the next two days is really going to be focusing in on what are the shared priorities and shared goals that we want to focus on,” the official said.

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